Ashgrove Marketing has helped villagers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by ’twinning’ its office toilet with one in South Kivu, a poverty-stricken region near the border with Burundi.
Toilet twinning is an initiative that seeks to help the 2.3 billion people in the world who don’t have anywhere safe, clean and hygienic to go to the loo.
The funds raised by Ashgrove will help to construct another toilet or latrine in the area and provide life-saving health and hygiene education for local people.
Ashgrove founder Terry van Rhyn said: ’Toilets are not generally an everyday topic of conversation but when you hear some of the statistics from around the world, it’s just astounding.
’Apart from the 2.3 billion people who don’t have access to a decent toilet, nearly 900 children die every day due to diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation. That’s one every two minutes.
’As an agency, many of our staff have strong links with Africa so we decided to choose the Democratic Republic of the Congo for our twin.
’The DRC ranks very low in the table of Human Development which measures indicators such as life expectancy, education and social welfare - and its people have been subject to a lot of conflict as well as the devastating outbreaks of the Ebola virus.
’Toilet twinning is such a simple thing to do - each twinned toilet helps flush away poverty one step at a time, really making a difference to the lives of people in a small community.
’It’s also something that’s easy for the whole office to get involved with.
’Any loose change we find goes into our "toilet" piggy bank and we are now well on our way to our second twinning!’
To find out more about Toilet Twinning visit www.toilettwinning.org. As well as saving lives, the organisation estimates that for every £1 spent on water and sanitation programmes, £5.50 is returned through saved time, reduced health costs and increased productivity.